Monday, May 12, 2014

Three Athletic Gear Money Savers: Plantar Fasciitis Sock, Trail Gaiters, DIY Race Shirts

One thing I like about making my own things, aside from the money saving, is that I can make things just the way I want to. The ability to customize something is really almost priceless. So much of our lives are processed and mass-produced, knowing something you use regularly is made by you, for you, and just the way you want it is empowering.

I realize this post is a bit different than my typical cutesy craft or yummy food, but I started this blog to document what I was making, and this is what I have made recently. Hopefully it will be helpful to somebody. All 3 of these certainly have been helpful to me!

Money Saver # 1: Copycat of the Strassburg Sock
I own one of these. It is amazing. If you have Plantar Fasciitis, I highly recommend it. It stretches your plantar fascia while you sleep, so you don't wake up with horrible foot pain.  They run about $40. 

However, its construction is not complex. My dear husband now wears mine, and I needed a couple of new ones. So, I decided to make a copycat. Is it as good as the original?  Close.  Will it work? You betcha! Is it cheaper? WAY. 

My beautiful sock. These were originally part of my get-up for a Ragnar Relay a couple of years ago. We were the "Ninja Tortoises." :)

You will need:

  • 1 *SWEET* knee-length tube sock. Soccer socks would work well, too.
  • 1-inch D-ring
  • 10.5" length of hook-side-up 3/4" wide Velcro
  • 6.5" length of fluffy-side-up 3/4" wide Velcro
  • 22" length of 3/4" wide belt webbing
Simple enough, huh?

1. First step is to sew the Velcro onto the webbing. This was hard to photograph because it is all black, so I made this little diagram. You can click on the picture to see it larger if need. 

2. Once the Velcro is all sewn to the webbing, sew the edge of the webbing that doesn't have any Velcro on it to the middle of the toe seam on the sock. 

3. Now, sew the D-ring to the middle front of the top of the sock. Use a whip stitch and don't be stingy on how much thread you use. You want that baby on there tight. 

4. Now put on the sock. Lift your toes a couple of inches off the floor. Pull the webbing through the ring and fold it over, allowing the Velcro to catch.  Go to bed like this, and your heel pain will subside. It may seem weird at first to sleep with  your toes pulled back, but you will get used to it, I promise! And the relief you will experience will make it all worth it!

Money Saver #2: Trail Running Gaiters

Trail running is a growing sport and one of my favorites. A long run seems so much shorter when you are watching for roots and rocks instead of just looking to a stop sign 3 blocks ahead. 

One piece of gear that can make a big difference on the trail is gaiters. My husband had to stop twice during his first marathon on Saturday to dig rocks out of his shoes. Trail running gaiters would have saved him from that issue. Not to mention the protection from sharp plants, rocks, and roots.  

To make these I used an excellent tutorial from Adventure Lisa.  Go check it out to get the basic materials and measurements.

I did change a couple of things for ours. First,  my husband really wanted ours to be made of Neoprene. I am glad, since it will be much more durable than the typical thin stretchy synthetic used. I would worry about a Lycra-type fabric snagging easily. 

The other change I made was to add a piece of elastic to wrap around the bottom of the shoe, in place of the elastic around the base of the gaiter.  This was a personal preference thing. I feel better about the gaiter staying in place with it actually wrapping around the bottom of my shoe than just having elastic around the base. I don't want to be messing with it mid-run.

See how it covers the entire shoe opening and gently hugs my leg at the top?  

And here they are off. My stitches aren't professional, but they are strong.  (Kind of like me as a runner.:))

Money Saver # 3: Custom Running/Race/Team Shirts

So, I mentioned my husband ran his first marathon on Saturday. It wasn't an official race. He decided he wanted to run a marathon a few months ago, so we made a training schedule and worked toward the goal. 
This was my third marathon. My first two were official races, so I knew the significance of having something tangible to remember the event by. I still carry my first marathon finisher's medal on my key-chain. I won't wear my shirt from my second marathon to exercise in because I don't want it to get stinky.  You get it--I decided he needed something. But getting just 2 nice tech shirts with something custom printed on them (and done right so it won't peel off), was harder than it sounds. Most custom printers have minimum order requirements of at least 6--usually more. 

Then I stumbled on

I chose the shirt color and sizes (they even had women's cuts), emailed them the text graphic, and I had the shirts within 4 days.  The representative I worked with was quick to respond and clear. And the shirts were $16.95/each.  They are true to size, high quality, and the printing is well-done.  SCORE! 

I will definitely keep this money saver in mind for future running events.  

Oh, yeah. And the name of our marathon is what my husband texted me a couple of weeks before the big day when I asked him what we should call our "race."  Hahaha! 

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